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Episode 4: Harvest in Burgundy




This transcription was created thanks to: Julia Wiggin, Sean Magruder, Alissa Strunk, Luke Burrows & Ali Massie.

Part 1:Intro

Intro sounds: Tires on gravel; <<Bonjour>>; car door slamming; <<Dans les vignes hautes on fait toujours groupe de deux personnes, un groupe d’un coté et un groupe de l’autre coté>>; horse exhaling; “And we’re going to pick Corton Charlemagne on Thursday, so that we’re going to crush with feet, I would love to do it with you… because it’s usually girls only”; laughing; pressing sounds; “So this is kind of like a gentle pressing?”; “For the moment yes”; Brenna laughing; Tomoko inaudible talking; chanting of the Ban Bourguignon; clapping…


Brenna (Narration): Hi there – this is Brenna. I’m excited to welcome you to this special harvest episode, recorded entirely on the ground during the *just completed* Burgundy 2022 harvest. This episode is meant to capture the feeling and the sounds of a true Burgundian harvest. Just as every terroir in Burgundy is unique, so is every harvest. So you should expect this episode to sound a bit different than our typical episodes, as it is meant to document our personal experience of this very special time of year. 


We’ll be back with our next full episode next month. Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoy this glimpse into vendanges 2022… 


This is Roadside Terroir.


[Roadside intro music… upbeat drums, piano]


Brenna (Narration): This episode is sponsored by our dear friends at Hautes Côtes – a boutique travel and event planning company based in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune… Hautes Côtes creates deeply impactful and personal wine and travel experiences that truly capture a sense of place by highlighting the connections between the planet and people, culture and conservation, and, of course, wine. Learn more at


Season 2, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or is made possible by our season 2 partners: Becky Wasserman and Company, La Paulée, and Acker Wines. 


As always, don’t drink and drive, and remember to keep your eyes on the road. This episode contains explicit language.


[Light transitional music…]


Brenna (in background): Okay, so we want you to introduce yourself, say your name, what you do…


Loud male voice: Hello, my name is Max. I study winemaking and somehow I came to Burgundy because someone told me the wines are very good here…


[Train sounds… transitional piano music]

1.1 Intro to Harvest


Brenna (Narration): Sunday, August 21st. We can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air as our train pulls into the Beaune station.


My partner, Esa and I, are here to harvest with Tomoko Kuriyama and Guillaume Bott of Chanterêves. I met Tomoko and Guillaume on one of my earliest visits to Burgundy, and have been an adamant fan of their wines ever since. Today, I’m honored to call them both good friends, and feel incredibly lucky that they have allowed us into their “cuverie” to record and document this sacred time of the year. 


Tomoko is Japanese, but began working in wine in Germany– she worked under several famous names in the Rheingau, and earned an engineering degree in oenology and viticulture at the prestigious Geisenheim University. In fact, she still holds a German passport.


Guillaume is a true Burgundian, and master of Chardonnay. After completing the viticultural school in Beaune, he worked for Domaine Étienne Sauzet for many years, before moving on to one of our favorite spots in the world, Domaine Simon Bize. The two met at Bize, during the 2005 harvest – by 2010, they’d fallen in love and created Chanterêves. Chanterêves began as a true micro-négociant of humble terroirs based in Savigny-lès-Beaune and quickly grew to become an international darling, representing the new-wave of Burgundy. Today they are proud to include the Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne in their cellar as well as several hectares of their own meticulously farmed vineyards – predominantly in the newly trendy and cutting edge Hautes Côtes de Beaune.


Together, Tomoko and Guillaume make an impressive team. The blend of cultures, languages, and philosophies is immediately obvious at Chanterêves – both in the spirit of their “cuverie” and in the internal fabric of the wines themselves…


The 2022 growing season has been hot and dry… basically the complete opposite of 2021, which was cold and wet and dismally depressing. While the heat can certainly be a concern, this year has been almost entirely devoid of frost, hail, and mildew – so at this stage in the game the yields are looking good, and spirits are high.


2022 will mark the first year that Guillaume is officially full time at Chanterêves. 


[Piano transition music…]

Part 2: Hellos and Chorey/Champs Longs


Tomoko: Hello, hello, hello! How was everything?! How was Italy?


Esa: Good!


Brenna: How are you?


[Laughing, chatting, welcoming sounds and voices…]


Brenna (Narration): Monday, August 22nd. Harvest is coming. It’s our first day recording with Tomoko and Guillaume and we’re meeting inside their nearly-empty “cuverie”. We’ve all just returned from vacation. It’s mid-August and it’s hot out. We’re all wearing shorts, looking tan, and bragging about the good food we’ve eaten recently…


Today we’re tagging along for some grape sampling in order to determine the official start date of “vendanges” 2022. We hop into their loud, rickety white pick up truck and head out to the first vineyard in Chorey-lès-Beaune…


Brenna: And what was the name of this vineyard?


Guillaume: Les Champs Longs.


*Brenna repeats, and Guillaume helps with pronunciation*


Guillaume:Champs” is like fields, and “longs” long. Because it’s long rows.


Brenna: Okay and we’re in Chorey-lès-Beaune?


Guillaume: Yes.


Tomoko: Voila!


[Sounds of truck stopping, break being pulled]


Tomoko: All right. So what's interesting is that Champs Longs is actually one of the Chorey vineyard, which is adjacent to Aloxe-Corton. Because the other side of the road is already Aloxe. It's considered to be one of the most interesting, or maybe also one of the most complex Chorey Villages because he also has Aloxe character. Also has the Chorey character, which is very luminous. You know, it's, uh, jovial, fruity, nice wine. 


Guillaume: This will be our third vintage in this parcel, this year. So maybe that will be the most in terms of quantity, the greatest. We'll see. It seems to be juicy in the berries because, um, we have here heavy soils, It retains water and, uh, it doesn't suffer so much from dryness this year.


Brenna: Okay.


Guillaume: And, um, yeah, when you can try, you, you, you take a berry and you see it seems to be very juicy, very, uh, full of juice. 


Tomoko: So we'll be sampling berries to determine the date of harvest, but we're more or less now decided for next Monday. 


Guillaume: We’ll see. We can change our mind. 


Tomoko: There are many different ways to pick the samples, but this time we'll only do like really random berry sampling.


Brenna: Mm-hmm.


Tomoko: So Guillaume picks hundred. I pick one hundred as well. 


Brenna: Should we, um, let you count.

Tomoko: Yeah.


[Sounds of leaves rustling, berries being picked, gentle piano…]


Brenna: Do you have a general Brix number that you like?


Tomoko: A general Brix number? Ah, yeah. Well, we don't talk in terms of Brix, we talk in terms of density. So I don't know how to talk in terms of Brix, but, but you see, actually ideal for us would be… ideal just the, like a pure ideal would be 12.5, but the more important is really the acidity.


Brenna: Mm-hmm.


Tomoko: Like if the acidity balance is good, then we don't mind if it's 12, for example. 


Brenna: Mm-hmm.


Tomoko: I think we are among those growers who look less into, um, phenolic maturity, I think. 


Brenna: Mm-hmm. Did it rain a lot last week?


Tomoko: Yeah. Here is something like, 22 millimeters.


Brenna: Okay. 


Tomoko: Which is not a whole lot, but which is enough to de-block to let the maturity go, you know, much more smoothly. And then they are announcing how much?


Guillaume: I think would be a little bit stormy at the end of the week. 


Tomoko: At the end of the week. Yeah. 


Guillaume: But storm, we can have nothing. We can have a lot . 


Brenna: Uh - huh. And so you wait a little bit after it rains?


Guillaume: *exhales*


Tomoko: No, not necessarily.


Brenna: Oh really?


Tomoko: No, no. It really, it really depends. I mean, when it's very concentrated year like this, we don't mind picking just right after the rain. You know, Actually, I don't know if you've heard it, but sometimes for years like this, like ‘18, ‘19, 2020, there were many who waited the rain to pick. 


Brenna: Ohhh.


Tomoko: So like it can, it can go very quickly. That's why I think, for my feeling, next Monday is good. Like how, how they look because here is very, very fast ripening. It's the one with the most fast opening.


Brenna: This vineyard?


Tomoko: Yeah, this vineyard. Yeah. This is always the first one we pick. 


[Sounds of footsteps on gravel soils]


Brenna: Crazy. It’s crazy. I was like snacking on a bunch of berries and then all of a sudden I was like… Oh my God, I wonder if I'm snacking on too many berries! Cause in Burgundy it’s like every grape is… valuable.


Guillaume: On va attendre les résultats de l’analyse et on décidera. 


Tomoko: *agreeing*


Tomoko: Ouais, ouais. 


Tomoko: Today this is the only parcel that we would be doing this because there is uh, at least two weeks. Yeah. Something like two weeks of interval between here and the first Hautes Côtes parcel. Yeah. But because it's a warm year, we don't wanna miss the time to pick Chardonnay, because… 


Guillaume: Yeah, yeah, yeah. This year the problem seems to be the acidity.


*Brenna agreeing*


[Transitional music]


Brenna (Narration): When the weather gets too hot, the vines shut down in order to protect themselves. They close their stomata and stop photosynthesis…meaning the grapes stop producing sugar. The worry at the moment is that the wines could end up low in both alcohol and acidity. This is where even slight differences in picking decisions can make all the difference… 


[Sounds of footsteps on soil, opening of truck doors]


Brenna (Narration): We hop back in the truck and along the winding roads up to the Hautes Côtes de Beaune…

2.1 Hautes Côtes Vineyards


[Sounds of getting into truck, doors slamming, engine starting]


Esa: Alright, we’re recording.


Brenna: So all of the Chardonnay and the Aligoté here is also Mainbey.


Guillaume: Yes, all this area is called Mainbey.


Esa: What does that mean?


Guillaume: I have no idea.


*everyone laughs*


[Sounds of truck coming to a stop, doors opening and closing]


Brenna (Narration): As if frost, hail, odium, and mildew aren’t enough – a juicy full crop is also a temptation for the local deer population.


Tomoko: So this is Chardonnay, and you see here? Deer. 


Guillaume: And you see the deer here too? 


Tomoko: Yeah, snacking. Well, it's not that bad, but yeah, there too. Like usually like…


Brenna: Little fuckers.


Guillaume: What did you say? 


Brenna: I said, little fuckers. 


Tomoko: Oh yeah, definitely. The suckers. 


Guillaume: *laughing* Did you get that?


*everyone laughs*


Guillaume: See here? It’s like a harvesting machine…


Tomoko: Look at that! They were here… You see that, like such a sloppy eater. You see because he was devouring here, and like leaving our precious berries on the ground…


Guillaume: *quietly* Little fuckers…


Esa: *laughing*


Tomoko: It’s just incredible. Regarde ça prend, c’est mieux huh. Yeah. So, like, our cover crop is… is growing. 


Brenna: Uh huh.


Tomoko: They're here, they're there, but better than last year for sure. But they're there. Yeah. 


Guillaume: So green! *laughing*


Brenna (Narration): Guillaume points out that here in the Hautes Côtes, where it is much cooler, the grapes are green and aren’t even close to ripe.


Tomoko: And you know here is the parcel that Françoise could dig, I think it was like… 30cm? No. More… Because she was saying that there’s a fault between these two parcels, so this is extremely shallow. So this is like one parcel that we definitely see, I think because we see the stress, hydric stress, like here and there. 


Brenna: How is assessing the readiness of Chardonnay different from Pinot Noir? 


Tomoko: Oof, acidity is even more important for us, huh?


Guillaume: Yeah, yeah. For the white varieties, it’s usually acidity you, make the decision.


Tomoko: We look even less at the sugar.


Guillaume: And I think if you have the ambition of making good natural wine, without sulfur, you also need a minimum of phenolic component to make them stable. So acidity is certainly the most important but we won’t pick at 11 for example.


Tomoko: If it’s picked correctly and the grapes are clean, then we probably need very little or no sulfur for whites for us.


Brenna: So I guess, how much do you think about whole cluster amounts right now?


Tomoko: Like right now? No there’s no consideration, it will be 100%.


Brenna: Oh okay.


Tomoko: What we look at right now, what we have been following the whole season, what we look at right now is an accumulation of what we’ve walked through, because we do everything in the vines ourselves and so by the time the harvest comes we know how we’re going to work with them. Whole cluster doesn’t vary. But the extraction regime will change. It’s always an accumulation of details.


Brenna (Narration): On our way back to the cellar we stop at one more vineyard – Mont de Fussey – only a few minutes up the valley from Pernand-Vergelesses. 


[Sounds of footsteps in grass and spitting out grapes]


Tomoko: C'était ça le cas... Ouais c’est super jolie.


Guillaume: C’est bon. 

Tomoko: Here it’s much less yield. So as you see it’s starting to become golden, it ripens faster. It’s called “Les Monts des Fussey”. It's a young vineyard, it has the highest active limestone content, this and the one next. It’s much more aromatic, much more sugar concentration, and quite a fresh aromatic profile.


Brenna: There’s also, and is this a ripening thing? There’s like kind of fleshi-ness to the pulp?


Tomoko & Guillaume: Yes, yes.


Brenna: It’s almost kind of like getting jelly?


Guillaume: Yeah, there’s less juice in these berries.


Brenna: Oh okay.


Tomoko: Yeah that’s exactly it.


Guillaume: More pulp. So yes, unfortunately, less yield. There’s grapes but not a lot of juice in the berries.


Tomoko: Exactly, the solid ratio is higher. But it’s normal. There’s really not much rain this year, and you see it’s a hillside, so like the steeper it is, the more hydric stress it gets. But then you’ll have a higher solid, like thick skin. It’s a great site to make a great Chardonnay.


Guillaume: The good thing is we don’t have any odium at all.


Tomoko: Yeah, yeah yeah. Zero.


Guillaume: This parcel is very sensitive to odium.


Tomoko: Yeah extremely sensitive. But we did a good job here. Very happy.


*Everyone laughing*


Tomoko: Okay then we’ll see you, you'll follow us and we’ll go back to the cuverie.


[Transitional music…]

2.2 Pre-Harvest in the Cellar


Brenna (Narration): After a long growing season spent in the vines, a sleeping winery must be awoken …and prepared for an onslaught of energy and activity…


Brenna: Okay great. So mostly we just want to see what you’re doing to get ready for harvest.


Tomoko: Like right now? Well it’s kind of like always a bit messy. For us of course the most important thing is to follow the maturity of the vineyard. You know like, which are the days that we’re picking, because you know our vineyards, the picking dates span over 4 weeks, so like that’s what occupies me the most and at the same time it becomes nerve racking because we use lots of wood and all the fermenters for the reds are wooden fermenters, meaning that they are very delicate, meaning that they need a lot of care, and maintenance, because as you’ve seen, you know like half of what we have is second hand, they’re like 25-30 years old, they need a lot of time to get them into the condition, so we have to start watering them everyday, so that the wood will like, bulge up…


Brenna: So it’s like the wood kind of expands with the water? Kind of seals itself?


Tomoko: Right, exactly. The wood expands, so that’s why we say the wood is alive. We talk about the memory of the vessel with many people, like Sylvain Pataille was talking about it the other day, we usually use the same vessel for the same vineyard. You see, I think there is a memory in the molecule. It’s not scientifically true at all, as you know, but the older they are the more water they use, because the new ones hardly need to be treated like that with water. That is a concern for me - I must say. That’s one of the reasons why we are buying 2 new ones every year since now 3 years. 


Then there’s all the paper work of course. And communication, which is like very important, like if you’re a friend and you’re coming, you’re not coming for - I mean, we pay everybody, of course, that’s the basic rule, every “vendangeur” in France gets paid the minimum wage, which is not a lot, and all of our friends have jobs - so they are definitely not coming here for money, they are coming for friendship - communication takes a lot of time and organization takes a lot of time - so all these things, it’s just a big jumble of things that takes up the head.


Brenna: Part of the Burgundy harvest is that you do, sort of, host people that help you right? You have like a lunch? Right? That’s like a huge amount of stuff to coordinate.


Tomoko: Yes, yes! Very important, like we say not just for the friends who come but for us as well. Harvest is like a very special time. It’s a place to see each other again. Eat and drink again. So that’s as important as picking. Very important. 

Part 3: Harvest 

Female voice: Hi, my name is Liza. I’m South African. I’ve been living in Burgundy for 20 years. Chanterêves is one of the domaines that we work with at Becky Wasserman. I am in Burgundy because my husband is French and he’s a sommelier and Burgundy is the place to be. 


Different female voice: So, my name is Amalie, I am from Germany. And I have friends who live here who invited me to do the harvest because they were always telling me about how amazing it is and this year I had time so I decided to come and do the harvest.


[Gentle guitar music…]


Brenna (Narration): Monday August 29th


The first day of harvest is here! We wake up around 6am to get ready, make a quick cup of coffee, and prepare ourselves and the equipment. We put on shorts and t-shirts, and apply sunscreen before we head out the door…


[Sound of car door closing, seatbelt clicks…]


Brenna (Narration): The temperature is expected to soar today, so in order to preserve both acidity and team morale, Tomoko and Guillaume have made a last minute decision to pick Chardonnay in Hautes Côtes Mont du Fussey. 


Tomorrow we will pick the Pinot Noir in Chorey-lès-Beaune. 

3.1 Arriving at the vineyard, picking instructions, picking sounds…


Tomoko giving picking instructions in French:


Oui, alors, il faut faire le groupe parce que c’est… dans les vignes hautes, on fait toujours groupes de deux personnes, un couple d’un côté et l’autre coupe de l’autre côté. Vous comprenez? Ok. 


(Okay, so, we’ll make a group because in the high vines we always have groups of two people, with one couple on one side (of the vine) and the other couple on the other side. You understand? Ok.)


Tomoko: I will explain you that. Of course, you and Esa will be one team, and me…


Brenna (Narration): And, with that, we start to pick. Snapping off the leaves reveals a wall of big, beautiful, juicy, just barely golden grapes. We snip snip snip, fill up our buckets, dump them in the cases, and snip snip snip some more. 


It is truly back-breaking work. The vines are trained low, in some vineyards the grapes are nearly touching the ground. Since we’ve actually never picked grapes before, we’re both very, very slow, and in true amateur fashion manage to snip our fingers a few times instead of the vines, resulting in a pretty embarrassing bloodbath. As the snipping continues, the day gets hotter and hotter.


[Sounds of clipping, leaves rustling, bins stacking. One person asks “Kapish?” “Kapish!”]


Brenna: So do you do all of the sorting in the vineyards? Is there anything we should look out for?


Tomoko: Yeah, actually here is quite pretty, so you can basically take everything. Even the dry berries you can take.


Brenna (Narration): After a couple of hours, we stop for a very welcome “pause café.”


Tomoko: Alright, how’s it going?


Esa: Good!


Tomoko: Good?


Esa: Yeah. What do you think so far?


Tomoko: Well, I am very happy. Yeah, very happy.


Brenna: Well the grapes look beautiful.


Tomoko: The grapes are beautiful, yeah. Very happy about that. So I was discussing with Yuku who comes every year to help us, our Japanese friend, and she’s saying it’s true that usually people come, as friends, and you chat, and you just cut, like you don’t need to don’t need to sort. That’s actually the best case scenario ever. It’s the best scenario, isn’t it?


Brenna (Narration): I’m pretty sure the first day is the only day the water is more popular than the coffee and treats. The best days are when someone has made a fig tart with the freshly picked figs off of the trees at Guillaume’s parents’ house. After this short break, we continue picking until every grape has been accounted for…


[More clippers, Tomoko speaking to someone in German, leaves being pushed away]


Brenna (Narration): The picking team at Chanterêves is incredibly international. After just a few days, everyone starts to feel like a friend. 


Their cellar hands for the year are a couple of young German guys, Felix and Max. And, in the vines there are people from all over… friends from Japan, Spain, South Africa, Austria, and, of course, France and the US…and more, depending on the day. And everyone loves to talk about language. It’s extremely moving to hear this diverse group of people communicate. Some use the opportunity to practice their Spanish or German, or just to understand and discuss different cultures. 


As for me, I’m still just trying not to cut my fingers off at this point…


[People talking in the distance, the sounds of harvesting continue… 


A truck door slides shut, an accordion plays, baguette bags crinkling… Tomoko points out a very good jambon persillé]


3.2 Casse-Croûte, Crushing and Pressing


Brenna (Narration): Once the vineyard is picked, we return to the cuverie. The picked grapes are processed by the cellar team while the pickers dig into their casse-croûte:  

a huge spread of charcuterie, cheeses, a giant bag of fresh baguettes and, of course, an array of Chanterêves wines, which often includes a former vintage of the vineyard we have just picked. They also like to drink wine from their friends and neighbors, and a glass of beer from the local craft brewery VIF, and maybe even some cider if the moment feels right.


The chardonnay grapes we have just picked are unloaded off of a truck and directly into a small mechanical crusher, which smooshes them up a bit before whisking them up into the press.


[Sounds of grapes dropping, crusher clinking and whirring in the background, accordion continues to play]


Tomoko: We crush first, be it Aligoté or Hautes-Côtes. I used to, when I was just working alone, and when I didn’t have our vines and just Chaignots, I always crushed with feet. And we’re going to pick Corton Charlemagne on Thursday, so that we’re going to crush with feet. And I would love to do it with you, it’s usually girls only… it used to be!


Brenna (Narration): Once the press is full and some of the free run juice has been pumped out, they start the press…


[Sounds of wine juice flowing, talking in background]


Brenna: So it’s just the free run juice right now, right?


Guillaume: Yes.


Brenna: You’re not pressing anything yet?


Guillaume: No, not yet. 


Brenna: And you haven’t pumped anything yet?


Guilaume: Yes, we have pumped something. 


[Wine trickling, glasses clinking]


Brenna: So is this kind of like a gentle pressing?


Guillaume: At the moment, yes, almost zero pressure. It’s 0.5, or not even 0.5, maybe 0.1 bar at the moment. We’ll increase very slowly. 


[Freshly pressed wine trickles in the background]


3.3 Winemaking (Pied de Cuve) and White Winemaking


Brenna (Narration): As the pressing continues, Tomoko brings us back into the cuverie to explain the philosophies behind their white wines. But first, she brings us to a special corner of the winery where a few small buckets of juice are busily fermenting and bubbling away…


[Carbonation fizzing]


Tomoko: Pied de cuve is actually a yeast starter – I think you call it a starter? The most important thing is that the starter gets a big population (of yeast) in a low pH environment which is very favorable for the yeast population –  not favorable for the bacteria – it is warm, it loves that environment, and it develops very fast. That is used to inoculate. And then I aerate it every day. I mean, ideally as many times as possible, or at least three times a day, aerate it a lot because aerobic conditions will favor them to multiply as fast and as vigorous as possible. It helps to thicken and strengthen their cell membrane. And this looks quite good and healthy.


Brenna: Frothy!


Tomoko: Frothy, yeah. So they are like my babies. They are important, so we treat them with a lot of love and attention so that they’ll keep going.


Brenna (Narration): Tomoko guides us along the hose from the pump through the winery into its stainless steel destination. 


Tomoko: What I love about winemaking is it’s about taste, it’s tactile, it’s the smell. It’s not just about the taste, it’s very physical. It can also be intellectual but the intellectual is just a teeny tiny bit of the whole map. There is a lot of work involved, physically, and that’s also what I like. 


You have to be very alert to sound, because sometimes there is a dripping sound that means something is leaking. If you listen to the machines so that you know how the machines sound, you know when sometimes something isn’t working. So you become very alert to all of the senses that you have, it’s what I really like about it. 


[Tomoko’s voice echoes in cellar]


Tomoko: We’ll have the middle row, as well, for the whites. It’s gonna be completely full-full. Yes! Hopefully. Thanks to the work of everybody.


[Door squeaks open]


Tomoko: Going into this tank now. So we let it sit overnight, so then the solids will, you know, fall down as sediment, which are the first lees. There are many ways to barrel down, but the way we crush and press, we will have a good amount of lees but not too much. As lees are going to be clean, we are pretty sure of that, because the grapes are very clean. So we will probably mix it up and get everything in –  we will barrel down everything. 


We will be picking tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon we will be barrelling down. Or maybe not, we will see, because I actually want to already put a pied de cuve, give a big population to it because there is no sulfur. So our principle, whether red or white, one of the rules of thumb is it should ferment as fast as possible, because fermentation is the best protection. The best is to let the whole volume start fermenting. Get a big volume of yeast population at the beginning and then barrel down. Then we will have a very clean, fast ferment usually. 


Brenna: Then will you rack off of the lees?


Tomoko: No, the only racking we do is two weeks before the bottling –  with whites I mean – reds are a different story. But with whites, they’re sur lie up to almost two weeks before the bottling, and that’s it. We even give back the lees into the racked wine to have the protection.


Brenna (Narration): Thursday, September 1st. 


Just a few days after our first pick, we have the opportunity to pick the Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne. This is a special day for everyone, and the precious grapes are crushed by feet. The cases are laid on on the cuverie floor, and we all hop in, jumping from case to case.


[Many sounds in the cuverie – music playing in the background, Tomoko giving instructions in French, splashes and squishing sounds.]


Brenna (Narration): Tomoko points out how tactile this experience is, and how much information your feet can give you about the juice that will turn into wine. Plus, it’s a pretty nice pedicure.


Tomoko: You can really see the difference from the years beforehand how much juice the grape has. Again, tactile information, so you have a picture of the grape… 


[Grapes sloshing, bins moving]


Brenna (Narration): Over the next few weeks this process repeats itself over and over again…early mornings, picking, pause café, picking, casse-croûte, crushing, pressing…while the grapes and their juices gradually begin their metamorphosis into wine.

Part 4: Fermentation

4.1 Beginning Red Winemaking and Fermentation


[Atmospheric transition]


Romain: Hello, I’m Romain. 

Je suis aux vendanges, (I am at harvest)

Cette année je fais deux domaines (This year I am working at two estates)

Donc j’ai vingt-sept ans et ça fait dix ans que chaque année je reviens faire les vendanges (I am 27 years old so it means I’ve returned to work the harvest for ten years)

Je les fais parce que j’adore ça (I do it because I love it)

Je suis de région Parisienne (I’m from the Paris region)

J’ai un camion (I have a truck)

Et je me déplace pour faire des saisons agricoles et voyager. (I can move around for seasonal agricultural work and to travel.)


Shinji: Konichiwa. Hello, my name is Shinji and I am Japanese. I am a friend of Tomoko. Tomoko-san. She is the chef of the Chanterêves. That’s why I came here. I am helping her every year.


[Musical transition]


Brenna (Narration): Thursday, September 1st, late afternoon. The fermentation for the red wines is a bit different, of course. Chanterêves is 100% whole cluster – so entire bunches of grapes are first simply placed into their designated wooden tank, and once the pied de cuve is added, all we can do is wait for the magic to happen. After a few days, they’re given a gentle nudge. Today, after the lively foot stomping of the Corton-Charlemange, Tomoko invites me to hop onto the tank of Beaune 1er Cru Les Blanches Fleurs, which has just started to ferment, and to only very gently walk on half of the grapes.


Tomoko: So you can -


Brenna: Mmm, smells good!


Tomoko: Get on top of here, and then, there you can wash them up here. Yeah.


[Faucet running]


Tomoko: Don’t fall off. 


[Faucet running, laughter]


Tomoko: That’s right, okay. That’s good. 


Brenna: Good?


[Faucet shuts off]. 


Tomoko: Yeah. And then you can go on where it has not been tread yet.


Brenna: So just this half?


Tomoko: Right, that part. And you can flatten it out like I did.


Brenna: Okay.


Tomoko: Yeah.


[Brenna laughing, feet stomping in grapes] 


Brenna: It’s warm!  


Tomoko: Right?


[Feet stomping in grapes]


Tomoko: Exactly. Yeah, you can flatten it out. Like that, yeah. 


[Stomping, Tomoko laughs]


Brenna: So, okay, you were saying in the vineyard that throughout the growing season, as you see the grapes maturing, you plan your extraction.


Tomoko: Extraction, yeah - how we work on the grapes, yeah. A year like this we know more or less that we will get a color no matter what. And then, it’s a concentrated year of course, but maybe probably not as concentrated as 2020 for sure because we have more grapes in the vines and they have more juice to begin with. So, I think 2020 is a very powerful, concentrated vintage which is difficult to make elegant red, in my opinion, but here I think in that respect we don’t have a high risk…


Tomoko [to Brenna, who is stomping]:  Yeah that’s very good right now, yeah you can go to the other side. 


So probably we won’t tread that much this year. This is not a whole lot at all, you know. 




Brenna: So yeah, like, that’s what you’re, this is exactly what you’re thinking of -


Tomoko: Exactly.


Brenna: Where you’re like squishing it down -


Tomoko: But you know - every year, no matter which vintage, I start like this. And I start like this - first it’s just we give impulse to the yeast, and they need to get fed, they need more juice. And that’s how it goes, after this the question -


Brenna: So that’s what this is about, it’s just feeding the yeast.


Tomoko: Yeah, exactly.


Brenna: So you’re not even really extracting.


Tomoko: No, no, no. It’s actually feeding, you know like we tread on it, then we get more sugar coming out, because you know like all of these berries have not been -


Brenna: Popped.


Tomoko: Mm-hmm. 


[Treading continues]


Tomoko: I have to check, actually, from those that have… Yeah, so you see how red they are? This is already carbonic maceration going. You know, when we were popping the berries in the vineyard they were white, white, right, in juice? And now they are red like this, meaning that the carbo is on. This is pretty cool, and especially if you take a little bit of berries and they’re kind of like, spritzy, we say like.


Brenna: *with spritzy carbonic berry in mouth* Mmm! Mm-hmm. 


Tomoko: Alright, Brenna, looks good. 


[Musical transition starts, stomping stops]


Tomoko: Looks good, that’s enough, yeah. And so, with a small cuve like this, I do this morning and evening…

4.2 Red Winemaking, Extraction


Brenna (Narration): Tuesday, September 6th. As the fermentation ramps up, they carefully adjust their extraction regime – or treading - based on how the fermenting juice is progressing. They taste twice a day to see how the fermentation is going, if there are any problems, and how  the tannins are developing.


Tomoko: *in the background* Okay, it’s going strong.


Brenna (Narration): Today, we’re watching Tomoko as she hops in the tank of Chorey Rouge for a full pigeage, while Guillaume gives us a taste of the fermenting juice from a tank nearby.


Tomoko: We’ve been wetting the cap, and then we are adding oxygen because I really don’t like to do rémontage for that reason, but to nourish and have as big a yeast population as possible for later. But there’s - almost all the berries are broken, more than we would say 80% is now broken. 


*In French* Oui, temperature, oui ça descend donc il faut absolument que tu entres. 


So the yeast is like starting to slow down, like we’re definitely gonna get inside and stimulate the yeast. 


[Sounds of aerating wine in mouth]


Tomoko: [Speaking French]


Guillaume: You can finish it.


Brenna: Mm-hmm.


[Musical transition] 


Tomoko: This year is good, because it’s not as dangerous for me to sink. Which is really great, but like last year they were, half-full or less than half-full, and then it would be dangerous to hop in you know like because of the CO2 gas and - poor Guillaume.


Brenna: Yeah, and how would you get out?


Tomoko: *laughs* Well, Guillaume did it, for those tanks.


Guillaume: No, it’s dangerous for everybody. 


Tomoko: It’s dangerous for everybody.


Guillaume: You see, when the level is here, of grapes - 


Brenna: You’re just standing in CO2.


Guillaume: All the rest is CO2, so.


Tomoko: Right, exactly.


Brenna: You need like, a snorkel.


*Everyone laughs*


Tomoko: Yeah - have to resort to every possible means to be able to do this. Yeah, not easy. It’s usually very interesting because, always it’s the center which is the warmest, and the more you go towards the edge, it gets cooler. 


[Atmospheric music]


Brenna (Narration): Part of the job of the pigeage is to stimulate the yeasts, and to evenly distribute the heat in the fermenters. But it also determines the extraction of color and tannin from the grape skins. This isn’t something calculated. It’s literally felt and tasted.


Tomoko: It starts at 21 degrees. We’re not doing anything, but as the yeast activity gets active, you know, it goes little by little. Even if you wouldn’t be stimulating them, but just by oxygenating them, you see the temperature rise, you know. And it’s always like, every year is super fascinating to see that. I think we never get over this - this excitement is always so cool.


Brenna: Does the temperature ever get too hot?


Tomoko: You know, the way we do it, it never gets too hot. It rarely goes above 30. Yeah, rarely,  yeah. That’s also pretty fascinating - if you would start, you know like doing this from the first day on - oh yeah, it will go up very fast, yeah. If you come up and see, I can explain more.


[Clanking in the cellar]


Tomoko: So you see for the moment, its activity is very gentle, right? It’s bubbling everywhere. But then probably like, tomorrow evening, the cap will start to rise.


Brenna: *To someone else* Do you hear a bubbling?


[Clanking, bubbling of the fermentation]

4.3 Pressing the Reds 

Brenna (Narration): After the pigeage, we go to check in on the first red wine pressing of the vintage – The 1er cru Beaune les Blanches Fleurs- the same terroir Tomoko allowed me to do the foulage, or gentle squishing of, early on in its fermentation.


[Gentle dripping from the press] 


Brenna (Narration): They have us taste the free run juice, and then taste again once the pressure increases…


[Dripping continues alongside other sounds in the cellar ]


Tomoko: The color is even more dark. It’s always super cool.


Brenna: So what do you know for certain about the final wine at this point, and what are you still discovering?


Tomoko: Great question. You ask - do you want to taste this one? Because then you will see the difference between that one and this one which is just pressing…


Brenna: Wow. *To someone else* You try this one?


[Loud machinery starts]


Tomoko: So yeah, that’s a great question. And that’s actually the question that we ask ourselves -


[Brenna and Tomoko laugh]


Tomoko: Every year, right? No no, it’s really the question that we ask when we decide to press. For me, I know that it has become wine - it’s not just the question of sugar but when the wine character appears - then I don’t want to wait longer than two days maximum. And other than that -


Brenna: What do you mean by wine character?


Tomoko: Hmm, yeah. I get the feeling that there isn’t necessarily more that we can gain from - and probably we can gain if we keep on doing pigeage. But then, if we keep on doing pigeage and prolong the cuvaison, then the pH will even go higher, meaning that when we press, in the middle of high pH with a lot of sugar, I mean,  it’ll be even more stressful for the yeast to finish the sugar, so we can’t prolong that a lot either. But it tastes like a young wine, you know -


Brenna: It tastes less like juice, yeah.  


Tomoko: Yeah, but it tastes wine. So it’s something like that. But then there’s also uncertainty because there’s so many uncrushed grapes, from which it hasn’t really been extracted yet, except the sugar that’s just been extracted right now by the press. 


[The press starts again]


Tomoko: This is just turning, and then mixing a little, as you know, and then we’ll start the press again. You know, what we taste from the free run is of course not the taste of the finished product, right? So when we decide to press, it can taste like a bit too extracted for our tastes.  That’s better, because then that will be eventually more diluted through the fact that uncrushed berries are just being pressed, and they’re not extracted, you see. So, that means it’s better that it’s a little more, let’s say, it tastes a little more tannic, a little more powerful, a little more condensed than the finished product that we would like to have. And so it’s always a question of weighing these two things - it’s always a question each year, and especially in a year like this, the danger is to over-extract. Which we want to avoid, because we still would like to have elegance of each terroir, so we would already like to have a wine which is elegant in its youth. So it’s always a conversation of like, where to stop and press, or if we go another day longer, and another day of pigeage or not, yeah.


[More machinery sounds from the press]


Tomoko: So before turning, you put the top of the membrane on the top and it’s like, deflating. And now it’s completely deflated, so it’s like, turning once. And then you will restart the press.


Brenna (Narration): As the press turns and ramps up, we discuss what you can understand from the wine at this stage in its evolution, and how to understand what is observably inherent to the place, and what will still develop with time. 


Brenna: …and the potential alcohol, you have an idea of what will happen with the acidity, obviously it changes during the fermentation…


Brenna (Narration): Before the grapes are picked, you have a quantitative idea of things like potential alcohol and acidity. But tannin and texture develop only as the grapes become wine – you have to watch and see how it develops, and respond accordingly in order to encourage what you hope will become balance.


Tomoko: It’s always that there is like so much unknown, so each year is like an incredible adventure. So that’s why for us, it’s important to be in the vines because working the vines at the same time you have so much information, right? Like we have that training here - that being in the vines, it is absolutely primordial to be able to connect yourself to the final product, yeah, the final wine. It’s really exciting.


4.4 Bruno CLAIR - End of Côte d'Or Harvest Review


[Upbeat musical transition…]


**Echoing sounds of footsteps and conversation**


Brenna (Narration): As harvest continues, we stop in on some friends at the opposite end of the Côte d’Or, Domaine Bruno Clair, based in Marsannay. In contrast to Chanterêves, Domaine Bruno Clair is a bigger domaine with a deep history of vinification in the Côte d’Or, which includes an extensive cellar filled with famous terroirs in Gevrey-Chambertin as well as in their home base of Marsannay.


We are here on one of their last days of pressing the red wines. Bruno himself is one of our favorite characters in Burgundy (who you will learn more about in a future episode) but… today the cellar is run by his two sons, Arthur and Edouard. We’re joined by Paul Wasserman as Edouard gives us a rundown of the 2022 vintage.


I ask him how it went and how the vintage felt here in the Côte de Nuits.


Edouard Clair: It was a year with limited frost at the beginning….just a little bit in Marsannay in some Chardonnay. It was a very very dry, a spring very dry, and it was difficult for us because with the cover crop it was a little bit complicated because it was very dry. After, it was a lot of rain at the end of June…too much for July. We lose maybe 30% in Clos Saint-Jacques, Fonteny, and les Cazetiers. 


Brenna: Really?


Edouard Clair: And…


Brenna: From the rain…from the…


Edouard Clair: For the grêle.


Paul Wasserman: Hail.


Brenna: Hail, ahhh….


Paul Wasserman: There was a huge rainstorm right? 


Edouard Clair: Yes. It was a…


Paul Wasserman: 80 mm or ah…


Edouard Clair: 80, 90 mm…


Paul Wasserman: 90 mm? 


Edouard Clair: Yes, 80 or 90, in 40 minutes. 


Brenna: Whoa.


Edouard Clair: This part of Gevrey and the other part of the… worst harvest in quantity. It’s in the dry area on the top of the côte and on the sortie des combes.


Paul Wasserman: Outside at the mouth of the combes.


Edouard Clair: Le cône d’alluvium en sortie de combe avec que des éboulis, pas d’argile, et du coup, en plus, on s’est planté en 61 et 49 donc c’est un accumulation de plein choses qui font que on fait moins vins de 20 hectolitres dedans, ça ressemble le millésime 2020. 


Paul Wasserman: So the, yeah, that’s the part that’s reminiscent of 2020, at the mouth of the alluvial fans…Um because of the terroir it doesn’t retain water…


Edouard Clair: No clay.


Paul Wasserman: No clay, no retention of water. There was not a lot of disease?


Edouard Clair: Not for us…Yes, a little bit of oidium but if we compare with ‘21 it’s nothing. ‘21 it was mildew and oidium and botrytis and yes…this year it’s, it’s clean.


Paul Wasserman: But a fair amount of dried grapes?


Edouard Clair: Not the same like ‘18, ‘19, or ‘20. For me ‘19…’19…it was very similar for me, for the texture les grappes, la texture, le niveau de l’évaporation, afin que là, les sucres qui sont volé alors que là, en faite les sucres ce sont pas volé, ce pH se sont volé mais pas les sucres se sont volés.


**violin music plays in the background**


Paul Wasserman: Okay, so the difference is that the pHs did climb, but not sugars. They harvest everything between 12 and…


Edouard Clair: 12 and 13.5, 13.5…


Paul Wasserman: Yeah, that’s great.


Edouard Clair: With pH of 18 with 14, 14.5, the 2018 it was a…the same pH.


Paul Wasserman: So, in the 3.7-8 space?


Edouard Clair: Yes, maximum of 3.8 


Paul Wasserman: Yeah, okay.


Edouard Clair: In décuvage, after décuvage.


Paul Wasserman: After décuvage. Okay, high.


Edouard Wasserman: High, high, high, high, high


Paul Wasserman: High, high, high


**Edouard and Paul both laughing as violin music continues**


Brenna: So, so, you’re saying that in ‘18 or ‘20 the alcohol was higher?


Edouard Clair: Yes, I don’t know why. 


Paul Wasserman: It’s a, it’s a mystery.


Edouard Clair: I don’t know why. It’s the same summer like ‘20, but the opposite sugar and pH. ‘20 was very concentrate ah…in sugar and in acidity, in ‘22 it’s high pH and uh…


Paul Wasserman: Low alcohol.


Edouard Clair: sugar…


Paul Wasserman: Normal


Edouard Clair: …classique


Paul Wasserman: Normal


Edouard Clair: Normal


**Violin music continues in the background**


Brenna (Narration): Overall yields are high throughout the Côte d’Or this year. I ask Paul and Edouard to explain just how high the yields are, and what that means in terms of the quality of the vintage.


Paul Wasserman: Um…I don’t have figures yet…I have big smiles on a lot of faces.


**Brenna and Edouard laughing**


Paul Wasserman: So, some people are saying it’s not as big as ‘18. 


Brenna: Okay.


Paul Wasserman: A lot of people are saying it could be bigger. It should be a productive year. There are exceptions.


Edouard Clair: For us it’s maybe the last year uh…in ‘21. We make a good harvest in quantity. 

In the Clos des Bèze we make more last year than ‘22.


Brenna: Really?


Edouard Clair: En Faite 38, 38 hectoliters, hectare…37, I think, maybe.


Paul Wasserman: In general a 32 hectolitre average is welcome. 


**Paul laughs**


Edouard Clair: Yes.


Paul Wasserman: And a lot of people will be around 40.


Edouard Clair: Yes.


Brenna: And 40’s the technical cut off or…


Edouard Clair: Aujourd’hui je pense que sur un rouge 40 hectolitres, de, de…


Paul Wasserman: Some people will say that you can’t produce good wine above 25 hl/ha. Um…Edouard believes that between 35-40 it’s perfect. I think that we used to want concentration. We wanted dense wine. The average that was usually touted was 35 hl/ha in Pinot Noir. I think that today with the warmer years, actually a little more yield and a little more juice helps. I think our palates are changing, we’re drinking less extracted wines. It’s something to reassess.


Brenna: The grapes are changing though too, like you said…


Paul Wasserman: The grapes are changing and maybe, you know, the old saw of “old vine, low yielding fruit” maybe is to be taken with a nuance. You know, that’s all. Um…but, yeah, juicy wines are prized today, not shunned.


Brenna: Isn’t there like a legal cutoff?


**Clanging noises in the cellar**


Edouard Clair: It depends. Um…for grand cru it’s uh…this year maybe on average of 42. Like a…it’s usually…


Paul Wasserman: It’s set for every vintage, right?


Edouard Clair: Oui, between 40-44. It’s always between for hl/ha, 40 for grand cru, 48 for premier cru, 54 for village, and 60 for Bourgogne.


Brenna: Interesting. So, how many hectares do you have?


Edouard Clair: How many hectares? Um…we harvested 25.


Brenna: 25 hectares in two weeks?


Edouard Clair: In 11 days of picking.


Brenna: Wow.


Paul Wasserman: Wow.


Brenna: Did you sleep?


**Paul, Brenna and Edouard laughing**


Edouard Clair: No. Yes, a little bit.


**Music plays**


Brenna (Narration Continues): We head into the cellar to taste some baby Grand Cru from tank but start with the Premier Cru Clos Saint-Jacques.


**Music continues to play, we hear the clanking of wine thief on glasses and Edouard speaking in French and laughing**


Edouard Clair: [Speaking French, laughs]


Paul Wasserman: Hmm…he doesn’t think they could have done better with what they had. So, that’s…


Brenna: Alright…


Edouard Clair: Sous la pluie, une grosse averse à Clos Saint-Jacques, si je me souviens. 


Paul Wasserman: It was raining at Clos Saint-Jacques. Big, big rainfall, it was done under the rain.


Edouard Clair: Ah, ça reste la finesse de Gevrey.


Paul Wasserman: It’s still with the bowl of the lees and it’s still fermentary. I mean, it’s not all done yet. C’est presque Lavaux.


Edouard Clair: Comment?


Paul Wasserman: En délicatesse, c’est presque Lavaux.


Edouard Clair: Okay.


**Paul and Edouard laugh**


Paul Wasserman: It’s so delicate for Clos Saint-Jacques that…it almost reminds me of Lavaux Saint-Jacques. It’s beautiful is what I’m trying to say. C’est élégant. C’est ça que je suis entrain de dire. 


**Sounds of a text message coming through**


Paul Wasserman: Thanks to the whole cluster, even though there’s a high pH it’s…fresh.


Edouard Clair: Eh, Clos des Bèze.


Paul Wasserman: More noticeable reduction.


Brenna: Mmhmm…


Paul Wasserman: That smell…


Edouard Clair: Yes, a little bit.


**Sounds of hoses and other cellar noises**


Paul Wasserman: What’s the difference between Clos Saint-Jacques and, you know, one of the two great grands crus, it’s pretty much in the glass. This darker fruit of Clos des Bèze, the power. Whereas, Clos Saint-Jacques, usually it’s more elegant than Clos des Bèze, but it’s got this kind of really um…ripped kind of mineral, very athletic. It’s okay to prefer Clos Saint-Jacques. Which one do you prefer?


Esa: I maybe prefer this one.


Paul Wasserman: Mmm…


Brenna: Uh yeah


**Brenna and Paul laughing**


Brenna: That’s Esa!


Paul Wasserman: Expensive taste. High maintenance boyfriend, Brenna.


**Sounds of a text message coming through with continued sounds of the cellar in the background**


Esa: It’s true.


**Paul laughing**


Paul Wasserman: It’s grander, but 8 out of 10 vintages, um I prefer Clos Saint-Jacques. I like, I like racy…


Edouard Clair: Bonnes Mares c’est plus robuste.


Paul Wasserman: Toujours?


Edouard Clair: Toujours.


**Clanking cellar noises and hoses**


Paul Wasserman: Always more tannic, here.  That’s not the vintage, that’s...?


Edouard Clair: Oui.


Paul Wasserman: That’s here, Bonne Mares.


Brenna: So, at what point in the winemaking process do the grands crus start to become themselves? When do you notice it first?


Edouard Clair: Ah, c’est … par exemple, des fois c’est au remontage. Les arômes que tu as à rémontage des fois ils ressortent mais c’est pas seulement dans les grands crus, eh. Mais en général…mais il y a des vins qui ressortent comme ça avec des arômes qui sont extraordinaire quand tu remontes les jus au début de fermentation. 

Paul Wasserman: It’s not necessarily just the grands crus but sometimes you just see it…


Brenna: uh huh.


Paul Wasserman: Or the quality of it anyway, when you pump over, because just the aromas are so uh, you know, beautiful and extraordinary that…


Edouard Clair: Sometimes you can taste, already taste…For me um…and after sometimes the Bonnes Mares makes one year to be a grand crus, sometimes it depends.


Paul Wasserman: That’s Grand Cru already.


Brenna: Uh huh.


Paul Wasserman: And base. It’s all about the base on this one…I think I’m going to like 22 a lot. We’ll see in a few months but…


**Brenna and Edouard laughing**


Edouard Clair: I think so…


Brenna (Narration): After we taste we head out to these epic vineyards in order to explore the terroirs. While we walk in the vines we taste the ripe second crop berries (aka the part des grives, or birds’ share). And each point out that several of these distinctive Grand Crus characteristics are somehow already present in the grapes themselves. But you’ll just have to wait for our Gevrey-Chambertin episode to learn more about that.


**Musical transition**

Part 5: Hautes Côtes (Picking and Wines), End of Fermentation Wine Check Ins

5.1 Picking in the Hautes Cotes…


Female Voice: So my name is Jeanne. I was born here in Beaune, in 2000. Guillaume is my Dad and Tomoko is my stepmother.  So, there is new people - it’s really good to know eachother, where people came from and yeah, it’s a really good experience. 


[Light airy music plays]


Brenna (Narration): Meanwhile an amazing thing has happened. Almost overnight, the seasons have changed. It was really hot and then over a few days of rain, the summer was washed away. When the clouds cleared, there was an unmistakable autumn chill to the air. It’s right around this time that we start to pick the vines in the Hautes Cotes…


In the Hautes Côtes the Chanterêves team is joined by their MVP – a ginormous working horse named Cresus and his handler Gilbert Simond. They are here to collect the full cases. Paul later tells me that these two are the most coveted horse team in the Côte d’Or – perfectly in tune with one another – although, it is harvest and everyone gets to have a little indulgence now and again…


Tomoko: It is so funny because like yesterday you know he likes the grapes as well. Yesterday when he was bringing the cases to the camion. You know at the last moment he snatches one grape from the case. Because he is thinking oh you know the boss is not… 


Brenna: Yeah.


Tomoko: Yeah, the boss is not watching me. 


Guillaume: Yeah, but today also!


Tomoko: Today he did that again? Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Guillaume: Gilbert watched in the other direction and he took I don’t know like five... *imitates horse munching on grapes*


*shared laughter*


Brenna: Rewards for his hard work.


[Laughing and talking fades out]

5.2 Cellar Update…


Brenna (Narration): Saturday, September 17 – after picking in the Hautes Côtes in the morning, we are back in the cellar to check back on the new fermentations.


Tomoko: Yeah, I love this because it warms up…you know like it’s yeast activity that really warms up. I love this atmosphere. It can be dangerous, but…yeah. So everything is filled up now. So Guillaume and Felix just pressed off these two tanks yesterday which was Hautes Côtes and they are going to press one of the Savigny tomorrow that we keep together. Otherwise there’s two tanks of Nuit-St. Georges Villages, one tank of Ladoix Villages. So, we still have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 tanks to press off. And I think, let me see. Just check this one. See if the Aligoté juice is fermenting.


[Sounds of bubbling fermenting grape juice] 


Esa: It sounds a little bit like um butter on a frying pan. 


Brenna: Another thing that I was thinking today especially because it’s just it feels like a totally different time of year now then when we started. And that’s why it’s like cool to work with the Haut Cote because it’s just like you’re picking almost in a different season.


Tomoko: Yeah, yeah, it’s true. For me it feels like a harvest in Germany. *laughter* Almost.

Because almost everybody has finished and I think that this weekend as far as I know it’s almost only like very few domaines. Even Cassiopée, in Maranges, they have finished I think. Yeah, a couple days ago. So it's Dandelion. They are picking today and tomorrow as well. And we are doing the same. Yeah, and uh it’s now completely an Autumn air, Autumn wind. 


Brenna: Yeah.


Tomoko: Yeah and so that’s why it’s actually later than we expected this year. It’s later, but maybe like one week later than we expected. Yeah, yeah.


Brenna: I mean it’s just interesting how different of a moment it is because also it’s rained so much.


Tomoko: Yeah.


Brenna: So it’s really the grapes are just in a totally different place than the ones that were picked first I guess. Right?


Tomoko: Yes, absolutely. I wanted to have as many people as possible. In case we needed to select. In case we need to do a lot of selecting in the vineyard, but actually it went very well because there is hardly any rot, right?


Brenna: Yeah.


Tomoko: I mean there is hardly any because it rained a lot less than we thought. But just about it.


Brenna (Narration): We also take a moment to check in on two wines we have been following all harvest – the Chorey Rouge and Beaune 1er Cru les Blanches Fleurs…both are just about ready to be barreled down.


Tomoko: The fermentation went very well. It’s almost right now. We pressed it off.


Great ferment. It took almost two weeks until we pressed it. And it’s almost dry now. So when we press there is always sugar left. So it’s a nouveau. 


Brenna and Tomoko: *laughter* Chorey Nouveau *more laughter*


Tomoko: We can already drink it right.


Brenna: How does the color compare? Like it’’s not super dark. ….


Tomoko: Yeah, it’s still dark, but not super dark. And you see this acidity is like incredible right. So that’s something that's different from finished wine right. A finished wine will go through malolactic fermentation, so you will have a much softer acidity. There you go. So this is Beaune Premier Cru. It’s called Blanche Fleur. It means white flower. And from them it's a wonderful domaine. They are small, as small as we, but every year they amaze us. It’s just always so balanced. And it’s like great grapes. Probably the star of the Savigny. Very young now. It’s still very young.


Brenna: It’s really good. 


Tomoko: But it’s got the poise of the Premier Cru.


Brenna: So how do you think of this from being different from the Chorey at this stage?


Tomoko: At this stage, I think it’s still very young. It presents concentrate, but I think it has great depth but also elegant. Chorey is much more accessible probably, but this has got tannins but it's very fine. Very mature tannins. Chorey is in that sense it's much more, how do you call it, it's a fun wine to drink. But probably it's one of the most serious Chorey that we’ve done so far. But this is like punching way above.


*Tomoko laughing*


Brenna: It seemed, when I first tasted this one I thought that the tannins were much softer. And then as you looked a little closer oh no not really they’re still there. They were just like a little bit more melded into the wine than the Chorey. The tannins seemed a little bit grainier at this point Obviously, they are young.


Tomoko: Yeah, yeah, I agree. They have been farming themselves since…how many generations now? I don’t know. And so of course that result is there. So that is something we can taste from this wine that the level of farming is really high.

Part 6: La Paulée and Outro


Female Voice: Patrícia introduces herself in Spanish…


Brenna (Narration): Sunday September 18th…


[Sound of horse exhaling…]


Brenna (Narration): It’s our final day of picking. The morning is clear and cold, and the sun is barely rising as we begin to pick. Today – we lather on layers instead of sunscreen and even though we’re tired and our bodies ache – we’re already sad that this moment is coming to a close. We’re picking Bourgogne Aligoté in Miarlons du Bas in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune. These vines are over forty years old. And well farmed, older vine Aligoté is pretty rare in the Côte d’Or. Tomoko explains that this site is always amongst the last to be picked, and always develops the most incredible complexity in the cellar…


The picking group is big today, almost 20 people, and the pick is quick, easy and joyful.


Male voice: C’est tout?


Female voice: C’est tout.


Male voice: C’est ça les vendanges 2022.


[Inaudible voices in French, laughing…]


Male voice: Everybody can go down with the bucket please.


[Multiple voices singing the Ban Bourguignon]




[La la la, la la la, la la la…]


Brenna (Narration): At the end of harvest, every winery hosts their own private Paulée – or harvest celebration. This is a time for everyone who contributed to the harvest to come together, celebrate the season, and breathe a collective sigh of relief that another vintage has been successfully harvested. The Paulée’s are always lunches, because lunches can basically go on forever. There is a huge assortment of food: Guillaume is grilling steaks, there are gratins and salads on every table, followed by cheese, tarts, and a freshly baked cake. And of course the wine – we drink back through the history of the Chanterêves vintages, mostly in magnum, and then everyone starts opening bottles they have brought themselves as we keep the party going. 


[Light transitional music…]


Male voice: Okay, okay, okay. My name is Thomas. I’m from Austria. I ended up here because I was texting with Tokoko online via Instagram and I’m doing an exchange actually. So yeah, here for the harvest.


Male voice: I’m Felix from Germany. And, I’m just hear to learn something more because I’m a winemaker from Germany and I know the wines very well I think so, but not each of them, but we can improve this… *laughs*


[Chanting in background, laughing, music plays…]


Brenna (Narration): We stay all day, lounging in the autumn sun, singing along to classic German, French, Austrian, and American songs… and eventually start salsa dancing in the cuverie as the sun sets.


[Sounds of bottles popping open, cheering and music fades…]


Brenna (Narration): Thursday October 13, 2022


The wines have all been tucked in for their winter rest, and life slowly trickles back to normal. We’ve returned home to the US and are counting down the days until we can return to taste the results of our first Burgundian vendanges.


[Upbeat percussion music…]


Brenna (Narration): Thank you to everyone in Burgundy who warmly welcomed us into this special time of year – especially Tomoko and Guillame. Thank you to Eduoard Clair and Paul Wasserman, and to all of the Burgundian vendangeurs who work hard to make epic wines every year.


Thank you to Hautes Côtes for sponsoring this special episode.


Roadside Terroir is hosted and produced by me, Brenna Quigley. Recording and sound engineering by Nick Canepa and original music and sound design by Jeff Alvarez.


This season is made possible by our Season 2 partners: Becky Wasserman & Co, La Paulee, and Acker Wines…


If you liked this episode, please share it and give us a review – it really does make a difference!


Check out our website to learn more about each episode, and how to help support this season by donating, sponsoring, or becoming a Roadside Insider.


Thank you to Esa Eslami, Ali Massie, and Cara Humphries– and a huge thank you to Steven Lipin, our Grand Cru Patron – we couldn’t do this without each one of you.


[Closing music…]


Esa: Hey Max, what are you going to miss most about picking? 


Max: You!


Brenna: Aww…

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